Thursday, February 28, 2013

#444: David W. Allan

David W. Allan is a researcher working on TIME (Time Interval Metrology Enterprise) to solve the big questions of physics. He has made some important discoveries, for instance that diallel lines which emanate radially from all bodies and carry gravity at more than the speed of light. They also carry information (hat tip). Which means that we have to be wary because “Just as the Internet is not discriminating in what sort of information is passed through its lines, likewise, the demonic elements also convey their messages of deception via diallel lines.” Well. His theory is explained (or whatever you might call it) here. I think it may be worth a read even if you know very little about physics (it should be said that Allan seems to know metrology, but its not quite the same). Here’s a list of “validations”, which one would think meant detailed predictions and results, but it doesn’t.

Apart from the presentation of his revolutionary theory on physics his website contains ravings against evolution (“those who do not accept it or are not willing to teach it have often been expelled.  (See Ben Stein’s movie: Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed). Darwin ’s theory implicitly teaches that there was no fall of Adam and Eve – bypassing it with the idea that man is evolved from lower forms of life. If there were no fall, then there is no need for an atonement. So implicitly, Darwin’s teachings are anti-Christ [notice how fundies often describe evolution as "Darwin's teachings"] and often lead to atheism. This theory has had a great negative impact on the morality of mankind”) and some insane cryptoscience, for instance this one, which according to Allan shows that North American ruins from the second century AD proves that Mormonism is true (a rather common claim among Mormon crackpots, in fact). DNA provides evidence for the veracity of the Book of Mormon as well, apparently (Allan seems to base his musings on the ramblings of one Rodney Meldrum).

Diagnosis: Might well be just a fundie with a website (I cannot find much independent info on the TIME enterprise), and his impact is probably pretty limited.

#443: Toby Alexander

Toby Alexander is a self-proclaimed Indigo child; in fact, he is a “Type 1” Indigo child: “Type 1's are born with 6 [DNA] strands activated at birth and have a 48 strand template. We can activate 12 strands by the age of 33 and supposedly there are only 350 people with this blueprint on the planet right now.” No, he doesn’t understand DNA (a good primer can be found here), but he is still here to share his wisdom with us. Given the right meditation techniques (Alexander doesn’t need to apply them since he’s already an indigo child) you can activate your DNA; in fact, “[y]ou will go from using 10% of your brain to becoming a multi-dimensional being with psychic, telepathic, and manifestation abilities beyond anything you've ever dreamed of. Plus, you will stop the aging process and actually start to rejuvenate to look and feel YOUNGER. This is the Original Divine Blueprint, what man USED to be. It has been written that Jesus had 12 strands of DNA activated.” (hat tip: this one).

The full “explanation” is that each chromosome has 10 more additional strands of DNA in the realm of ether, just waiting to be “activated”. Then, of course, there is some quantum, and then this:

“The portions of the DNA chain that science has presently identified as the ‘Double Helix’, represent only the SURFACE portions of the chemical, elemental, and electrical components of the active DNA strands. Science has yet to identify the MULTIDIMENSIONAL spectra of DNA manifestation, and has yet to realize that within the structures of detectable DNA, there are levels of structure and function that direct the operations of the entire genetic blueprint, which are not currently detectable by the contemporary scientific method.”

Some may wonder how, since it’s not detectable, Alexander knows, but I suppose you shouldn’t ask. (He may have borrowed something from Australian loon Vienna Stibal’s Theta healing, or from the site by a German chiropractor discussed here). Alexander's views are discussed in detail here. I suppose if you’re not satisfied with the results after following Alexander’s DNA activation, you can always try Ted Edwards’s DNA reprogramming based on The Secret and the advice of Russian crank Pjotr Garjajev who thinks that junk DNA is responsible for crop circles.

Diagnosis: Alexander abides perhaps as far as you can come from reality by riding the woo. He’s utterly unhinged but probably harmless.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Scott Adams is unhappy with his entry, and has therefore clarified his position on e.g. evolution. I have therefore updated the entry (no, no pressure - no one suggested that I should do so). Though the comment strikes one as backpedalling rather than clarification, it nevertheless emphasizes that Adams does, indeed, accept evolution and reject intelligent design. As long as that's the case it doesn't really matter what he may or may not have said in the past. We document loons, and pride ourselves on accountability ("staring into the abyss" and so on), so we have updated Adams's entry, and because we value accountability, we also inform about the modification in a separate post that will appear at the top of the page.

#442: Todd Akin

I suppose most readers are familiar with William Todd Akin. In any case, he was the U.S. Representative for Missouri's 2nd congressional district, serving from 2001 to 2013, a leading member of The Family, and member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Despite the fact that he failed eighth-grade health class, Akin used to sit on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Akin is of course most famous for losing his run for a Senate seat in 2012. During the campaign, Akin managed to elicit angry reactions from sane and decent people across the United States when he argued that there was no need for an exception to abortion laws to account for rape victims who had become pregnant, since “legitimate rape” cannot result in pregnancy, because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down", thus precluding a victim's need for an abortion.” Consequently, abortion providers are “terrorists,” because they sometimes perform abortions on women who “are not actually pregnant.” (Note the absence of a logical connection between the claims, which is easy to overlook because of the inherent stupidity of either). In 1987, Akin was arrested for blocking a reproductive services clinic for the usual reasons, a story that he proudly recounted to a public anti-choice demonstration in March 2011.

This is perhaps the most perceptive commentary on his statements during the Senate race.

The statements led to some controversy, and for a while it looked like the Republican party would withdraw their support for him (in the end they didn’t), a possibility that his wife Lulli said would be “just like the abuses of King George, when British troops raped our wives and daughters.” Akin himself said that criticism of him was just like when Muslims behead people (and I recommend taking a second to think about how abysmally stupid that claim is). Throughout his tribulations Akin retained the support of pseudohistorian David Barton (as well as the usual suspects), who had earlier compared Akin to biblical figures and likened him to the Founding Fathers. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway told Akin to withstand the controversy that emerged following his comments just like David Koresh withstood the ATF at Waco. (Where the hell do they dig up these people?) AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, never one to let himself be outcrazied, later claimed that Akin`s “completely accurate” statements were living proof that the Republican Party is not “the stupid party”.

Akin has also claimed that “there is no science behind evolution”, and that “it seems to me that evolution takes a tremendous amount of faith,” but given his understanding of reproduction one can somewhat see why the science behind evolution has thus far eluded him.

Although public awareness of Akin may have been bolstered during the 2012 elections, there was nothing new or surprising about his positions. Previously, he was most famous for saying that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.” He did, of course, offer an “apology”: “My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, Liberalism, not at any specific individual.” I don’t think that counts as an apology or in any sense implies that Akin was less than sincere. To ensure that we all wouldn’t fail to see how crazy he is, he also called the Bible a “blueprint to tell us about economics” and “about education”.

Akin was predictably outraged when NBC took “under God” out of the pledge of allegiance, finding it “tremendously corrosive in terms of all of the values and everything that's made America unique and such a special nation.” Right. Akin must apparently have learned his history, philosophy, and especially history of ideas, from his supporter David Barton (indeed): “This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country.” Indeed, most of his reactions to “value”-matters are predictably insane. He has, for instance, argued that abortion leads to illegal immigration and against any curbing of emissions to prevent global warming by claiming that he doesn’t want the seasons to stop changing – he claims that the evidence for global warming has appeared thin to him, and the arguments cited should really show how well equipped he is to address the issue of scientific evidence for climate change. He has also been opposedto stem cell research because it “would lead to a dark dystopia where people are just numbers.” The evidence was a story written by his young daughter, a story that also left the mechanism that initiated the dystopia somewhat mysterious.

Akin appears to have got his reproduction claim from one Jack Willke, a loyal Romney supporter and a central figure in Romney’s 2008 campaign.

Diagnosis: Abysmally stupid and ragingly insane, which is a killer combo that seems to have gained him a fair number of votes among the more reality- and decency-challenged segments of Missouri voters.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#441: Shawn Akers

Being somewhat ambivalent about including Roger Ailes, whose main qualification is being president of Fox News, we’ll move to another rightwing pundit whose qualitications are stellar and unquestionable. Shawn Akers is a certified Taliban fundie madman who serves as the Liberty Council’s Public Policy Analyst, adjuncts at the Liberty University’s Law School, and often appears as the sidekick of the ever insane bigot Matt Barber.

As a staunch anti-gay activist, Akers and Barber have blasted – in a manner worthy of Alex Jones – the GOProud for being liberal group masquerading as a conservative organization in order to divide the conservative movement. After all, Akers and Barber want a pull in the other direction, so obviously it is GOProud that is ruining the conservative movement, and doing so by conspiracy. Akers has even claimed, in a moment of predictable lack of self-awareness, that GOProud is a bully for disagreeing with him and defending the rights of gays (Akers accordingly finds it “ironic” that gay rights groups support anti-bullying initiatives).

Akers has claimed that the entire purpose of public education is to educate students so that they can read the Bible and learn how to live, which is probably not a good starting point for someone involved in an organization giving legal advice. He has also argued, during the 2008 election, that Obama represented the rise of “commufascism” simply because Akers got the same feeling from watching him as he got from representations of Marx and Lenin (I won’t link to townhall, though, so you have to search it out yourself). And Akers’s powers of intuition is, as we have shown, remarkable.

Akers’s big nemesis, however, is the nebulous conspiracy called the “liberal agenda”. Secular humanism is, according to Liberty Counsel, a religion, and liberals are therefore cultists. Hey, the religion of secular humanism even has its own Trinity, according to Akers, namely Darwin, Marx, and Freud. No, he doesn’t understand anything of what any of them actually said. For Akers, they are just indistinguishable, blurry parts of The Enemy, which consists of all those things that Akers don’t understand and the people who may disagree with him because they understand those things that Akers don't. 

Diagnosis: Standard fare in the American Taliban, Akers is presumably a relatively minor figure of moderate impact (that is, he wields a bit of it, but probably won't convince or reach anyone but the already converted). That doesn’t affect the fact that he’s a serious loon.

#440: John Adolfi

John Adolfi is an ardent evolution opponent who runs the website BibleLandStudios, which is first and foremostly the source of the all-time Intro to Critical Thinking favorite argument from drooling for the existence of God (you won’t find a denser cluster of fallacies this side of Ray Comfort; it is also blatantly self-defeating). Adolfi has been known to purchase all sorts of weird shit in his attempts to discredit evolution, and his webiste is actively asking readers to provide suchstuff: giant footprints (giants roamed the earth in the early days), human artefacts embedded in coal (proving that humans lived before the formation of coal), dinosaur and human fossils in the same layer, and pieces of Noah’s Ark. (In fact, the website displays a certain obsession with the Ark.)

According to Adolfi (citing one Rodney Stark) “THE real driving power behind the theory of evolution is not science but hatred for religion”. Since BibleLandStudios, as the name implies, takes the evidence seriously, Adolfi assures us that “In Bibleland's tradition of presenting the evidence and letting the reader decide for yourself, read away and then ask yourself is it Apes, Aliens or Adam?” It seems that Adolfi, just to make sure he is wrong, thinks it is both of the latter.

He also runs the Lost World Museum in Phoenix, NY, the purpose of which is to “present the greatest evidence ever assembled which validates the creation account found in the book of Genesis. We will explore past archeological finds and perhaps offer an alternative explanation as we present: the Giants of the pre-flood world, the remnants of ancient technology, the existence of Noah's Ark, evidence for a worldwide flood, anomalous fossils and out of place artifacts.” Note the casual inclusion of random pseudoarchaeology in the list. And indeed, Adolfi seems to be into all things pseudo (such as chupacabras) – here, for instance, is Adolfi’s excitement over some rocks in Costa Rica purportedly thrown together thousands of years ago to represent the solar system. In fact, judging from their website  The Lost World Museum seems more interested in cryptozoology than presented any even superficially coherent hypothesis, as long as it disproves evolution. Or something.

You can also buy Christian Science Fiction (i.e. that they designate as science fiction) produced by BibleLandStudios in collaboration with none other than Jim“pygmies+dwarfs” Pinkoski.

Diagnosis: A colorful fellow, completely separated from anything remotely resembling reality. Probably harmless.